Doctors protest victimisation in youth’s death case

TRIVANDRUM - The row over the custodial death of a Bihar youth in a psychiatric hospital in Kerala on August 4 has taken a new turn with the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) calling for doctors’ strike in Trivandrum and Quilon districts on Monday in protest against the action taken against doctors in connection with the incident.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Tue 21 Aug 2012, 12:27 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:52 AM

The association has also called a non-cooperation strike in all government hospitals in the two districts from Monday. The doctors have also threatened to convert it into a full-fledged strike from August 27 if the action is not reversed till August 26.

The government had dismissed one doctor and transferred five others, who treated Satnam Singh, a law student from Gaya in Bihar, after he was apprehended by the police on charges of attempting to assault spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi at her ashram at Vallikkavu in Quilon district, on the charge of dereliction of duty.

Dr Veena Thilak of the government mental health centre, Peroorkada was terminated from service and Dr Maya Raghavan and Dr Ramachandran Nair of the same centre and Dr Hareesh Mani of Quilon district hospital, Dr Chintha Sukumaran and Dr Kiran of Karunagappally taluk hospital were transferred for not conducting a physical examination of the Bihari youth.

The KGMOA argued that the action could not be justified as it was not possible to conduct a detailed physical examination of the youth, who had all along exhibited violent behavior. The doctors have termed the lapse on their part a minor technical error.

A KGMOA spokesperson said that the government was trying to make scapegoats out of the doctor following pressure from certain quarte

rs. A group of intellectuals have also aired a similar apprehension.

They have viewed the action against the doctors as part of a calculated move by the government to extricate the spiritual leader’s ashram from responsibility in the tragic death of the mentally deranged youth.

The intellectuals said Satnam Singh’s tragic death was caused not by the injuries he suffered at the psychiatric hospital alone but also due to the torture meted out to him by the inmates in the ashram. They pointed out that the video footage at the ashram showed the ashram inmates attacking the youth.

A joint statement issued by B R P Bhaskar, Paul Zacharia, K Venu, K M Roy, C R Parameswaran, A Prabhakaran and P Surendran said that the high level police team led by Inspector General B Sandhya was trying to spare the ashram of any role in the attack.

She is trying to hush up the case by arresting two employees at the Peroorkada Mental Hospital and transferring some doctors. The attitude on the part of the government in shutting its eyes to the reality was condemnable, the statement said. The statement has also alleged torture by the ashram inmates behind the death of one Narayanankutty some years ago. They demanded a comprehensive probe into the death of Naryanankutty as well as Satnam Singh to clear apprehensions in the minds of the people about the ashram.

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